I was recently introduced to Office 2016 and along with it Outlook 2016. I am techy, I like new stuff, I embrace change… this isn’t about me just being stuck in my ways. In short, the thematic approach that Microsoft has taken in its 2016 office products is what I call “ocular assault.” Did they just allow the hipsters in the graphics design department (who all secretly probably use “I-devices” anyhow and never actually touch Microsoft Office) to do whatever the heck they wanted without actually running it by someone… (anyone?!) with a background in ergonomics? Heck, how about just doing some studies with some people that use it?

I tried to use Outlook 2016 for a few hours yesterday… I felt like my eyes were going to bleed after about 10 minutes. The fonts are a mess, the spacing of elements is atrocious, everything just blends together into one big chaotic mess… My A.D.D. brain wanted to explode as it tried to focus on individual elements amidst the tumult of BLAH… ALL I WANT TO DO IS READ AND WRITE EMAILS AND KEEP THINGS ORGANIZED. Now, let me tell you what I really think…

Seriously now dear people of Redmond… a 2 minute Google (or a 30 minute Bing!) search reveals legions of users that all agree. You screwed up badly with office 2016. You only offer about 4 options for changing color schemes, none of which are any better, and there is no option for custom theming or plugins that I can find…. goodness.

The sad thing is that someone (or many someones) in some other department at Microsoft probably have done a heck of a great job of integrating new features that would make my life a lot easier as a heavy Outlook user. Alas, I will never find them and will keep trucking with Outlook 2010. Outlook 2010 isn’t beautiful by any stretch but here is the key… it’s an OFFICE application and is meant to be USABLE FIRST.

Please, Microsoft… fire your entire graphics design department and replace them with all of the people in cheap grey baggy suits and “power ties” that still think Adobe Flash is a “nifty innovation.” These fine people might not be flashy themselves… they might not like Photoshop… they may have never taken a picture of crumpled paper on the ground and called it art… they might still be using Blackberry’s (or perhaps their last upgrade was to a “Windows Phone” product)… ALL OF THIS MIGHT BE TRUE… but they never would have committed the atrocity that is the visual design of the latest office products. Bring back the visual design crew from Office 2010 and let them go “buck wild” and party likes it’s 1999 for the release of Office 2020.

%END RANT%

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